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Gators impress G William Putnam
William Putnam was one of four top-100 overall recruits in attendance at Florida’s inaugural Great Gator Grill-Out on Saturday.
The 4-star guard from Plant High School (Tampa, Fla.) enjoyed the unique recruiting experience in the indoor practice facility and came away with a much better for feel for first-year coach Dan Mullen and his staff.
“It was definitely more of a family environment more than it was a recruiting deal,” Putnam told SEC Country. “Football wasn’t really discussed too much. It was just kind of about having a good time, eating good food, hanging out with the coaches. It was really fun. I got water all over me from water balloons.
“It was really nice, especially at a time like this where a lot of guys in my own class are starting to kind of commit and everyone’s starting to find a place for them. It was refreshing just being able to relax. I was able to see the personalities of the coaches and that plays into the decision. It’s not just all about football in the end. There’s a lot more to it.”
His relationship with his potential position coach is a big factor. Fortunately for the Gators, Putnam has developed a rapport with Florida assistant John Hevesy and that bond was strengthened at the cookout.
“I think he’s really funny,” Putnam said of Hevesy. “He has a really good personality. I think he’s a character. But with that said, he’s also a really intense coach. So with those two combined, I think he’s just an all-around good coach.
“I would say the message is they’re really interested in me and they’d love me to come to Florida, but just take my time and make sure it’s the right fit.”
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound lineman plans to take a trip Auburn on June 2, and he said Georgia will also receive a visit from him. Clemson and Florida State are some other top contenders for Putnam, who will be announcing his finalists soon.
“I’m kind of getting close to the point where I’m trying to really find a top 5 of schools and say, ‘These are my schools, this is what I’m sticking with’ and kind of go from there,” Putnam said. “I’m not there yet, but I’m getting kind of close. I’m just taking a couple last unofficial visits right now and then kind of getting to the chopping block.
“As of right now, all the schools I’m visiting I’m very interested in — like Clemson, Florida State, Florida, Auburn. Ideally, I’ll let to get it all over with before the football season, but I know that’s probably not going to be the case. But I’ll definitely have it down to five schools before the football season starts and then go from there.”
Unique background for William Putnam
Putnam is just two hours away from Gainesville, but proximity to home won’t help Florida’s case in this recruitment.
He lived in five different states growing up, so the distance factor does not matter to him.
“I’m a military child, so I’ve kind of grown up everywhere. So geographical stuff doesn’t really hold me down as much,” Putnam said. “I was born in Michigan. From Michigan I moved to Centreville, Va., right outside of Washington D.C. From there I moved to Hawaii and from Hawaii I moved to Chatham, Illinois, right outside Springfield. Now I’m down here in Tampa.
“So I’ve moved around a little bit, not as bad as some kids. But I’ve been able to experience a lot and I wouldn’t change it for anything. If not, I would just grown up living in a small town in Michigan. So I’m happy I was able to see everything.”
Putnam is ranked the No. 5 guard and No. 97 overall recruit in the 247Sports composite. He also won a Class 3A state title this spring in another sport.
“I’ve been wrestling since before I can even remember anything,” Putnam told SEC Country. “Maybe 4 years old. I’ve been wrestling a long time. This year was able to go undefeated and win a state championship here in Florida. I was really happy to do that. It’s been a goal of mine for a long time.
“Wrestling has definitely changed my life when it comes to athletics and just as a person. When it comes to physicality, your hand coordination is really good and you just feel leverage a lot better when guys are pushing and pulling. And then mentally, it just gives you can edge and you just compete harder.”
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